Human greed is a fact of life: has been since post surplus (hence class) society weakened the bonds of interdependence to introduce new tensions between social and individuated self. So why say the cartoon is reactionary? Because unless contextualised it’s taken as Confucianesque counsel to stop trying to change the world and start mending our wicked ways.
And what’s wrong with that? I’m the first to agree that to understand the human condition we need only look with sufficient rigour – not that we’re much given to that – into our own deeds and motivations. All necessary information can be found there. As Terence wrote twenty-two centuries ago, nothing human is alien to me. Indeed* – though I’m just as convinced by Leon Trotsky’s narrower observation that not every frustrated petit-bourgeois can be an Adolf Hitler but there is something of Adolf Hitler in every frustrated petit-bourgeois.
My, how I ramble on! All I mean to say is that recognising greed – or to use a less loaded term, opportunism borne of existential precarity – in our make up is a crap excuse for tolerating a socio-economic system which, more than any other, elevates avarice at every turn: encouraging, rewarding and indeed making it – through a race to the bottom with the brakes off – a matter of practical necessity.
So yes, we all can and should do more to better ourselves – see how even this phrase has been hijacked – but not for a minute should we forget that this world is run by and for the criminally insane in ways that subordinate every other consideration to the dictates of profit. Ergo, this world has to be changed.